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Monrovia School Board: 'Screenagers' and 'Building Assets, Reducing Risks'

At its next meeting (agenda) the Monrovia School Board will consider...

~ Purchasing three screening permits for the film "Screenagers," one each for Monrovia High ($550), and for Clifton and Santa Fed middle schools ($250 each). Screenagers "probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director's own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world." Here's the movie's website:

~ Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation for the implementation of the Building Assets, Reducing Risks model in two Monrovia schools. I found this about the program: "BARR is a whole-school model for grades 6-12 that provides schools with a comprehensive approach to meeting students' academic, social and emotional needs." And here is it's website.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Student is National Merit Scholar Semifinalist

Monrovia High senior Nathan Nakamura has been named as a National Merit Scholar semifinalist for earning a score on his PSAT that places him in the top 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide. Also, five Monrovia High students were named as commended scholars and three earned a place in the National Hispanic Recognition Program.

- Brad Haugaard

Review of ‘Renaissance Years: A History of Modern Monrovia’

Many years ago I was attending a city-sponsored meeting in Arcadia as a reporter for the Arcadia Tribune newspaper. At this meeting a prominent Arcadia businessman exploded in frustration: "Why can't we be more like Monrovia!?"

Well, the just-published, Renaissance Years: A History of Modern Monrovia, by Richard Singer, explains what happened in Monrovia that made Arcadians envy us.

Singer is well positioned to write this history as he is a former public information officer for Monrovia, and before that executive director of the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce, and before that editor of the Foothill Intercity Newspapers, four newspapers, including the Monrovia News-Post and the Arcadia Tribune. (I worked as a reporter for him just in case you want to adjust your assessment of this review.)

This is not a coffee-table picture book, it is a scholarly 369 pages (or 407 if you include references and index) of mostly text, though it does include a nice selection of pictures. It is well researched and nicely written.

It is also opinionated, though in a mild way, but you probably won't have trouble determining Singer's estimate of people (for example, I don't think he and Richard Mountjoy ever got together for a casual beer and a laugh), but he warns you in the introduction that this will be the case. He writes: "There may be times when you'll find yourself thinking, 'Well, that's his opinion,' and you'll be right. It is."

The book traces Monrovia from its beginnings to 2017, focusing initially on race relations since they - along with economics - played a part in creating the problem that Monrovia not only recovered from, but soared above.

But that is just setting the stage. The meat of the book is the story of the politics of redevelopment and to a lesser degree of reform at the school district.

I learned a lot. For instance:

- How a saloon and local Baptists hurried Monrovia along the path of incorporation.

- How Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley helped Monrovia get the Huntington Oaks shopping center built.

- How Monrovia butted in front of a line of about 200 people (literally, not figuratively) to get a grant. Hmmm. Effective but doesn't seem exactly cricket.

- How Director of Community Development Don Hopper ordered the utilites turned off for a recalcitrant business on Huntington Drive, but accidentally gave an address on Foothill Boulevard, a building that belonged to ...

- How Monrovia came to have a directly elected mayor (most cities our size just rotate the mayor's office among the council members).

- About a candidate who had a stroke during a candidates forum, and later died from it.

Notice I'm not telling the whole story? That's so you'll buy the book.

Anyway, Renaissance Years is a great, professionally written record of the politics of a very important period in Monrovia history. Though some may disagree at points I would not quibble about the elements of the story I know first-hand, though there were instances where I believe there was more that could be said, but ... well ... it's already a pretty big book.

Finally, though it is very well written, I still think the best thing Singer has written was a column for the Monrovia News-Post about buying his wife a B-29 bomber control stick for her birthday. Maybe that will be in his next book.

You can get Renaissance Years at the Monrovia Historical Museum, through the Monrovia Historical Society, at The Dollmakers in Old Town, and at the Library. It should be on Amazon after the first of the year. The full $30 cost goes to support Monrovia historical projects, such as the museum, the Anderson House and the Legacy Project.

- Brad Haugaard

Dinner at Hon Sushi

Dinner at Hon Sushi, on the north side of the Pavilions shopping center parking lot. Got the chicken and beef teriyaki dinner for $11.99 and a large beer for $6.95. Nice. Sorry about the picture. I took a few bites before remembering I needed to take a picture. 

- Brad Haugaard 

Preview of Junk Mail

Now this I've never seen. The US Postal Service just sent my wife an email showing the front of all the mail that is about to be delivered to our house.

Now if it let us checkmark all the letters they can just throw away, that might be useful.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Disloyal With Loyalty Rewards; Break-In From Car to Garage to House; Mower Stolen; Stealing Mail; Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for October 16-18. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 419 service events, resulting in 78 investigations.

Grand Theft Auto
October 16 at 12:38 p.m., officers responded to the 800 block of W. Walnut regarding the report of a suspicious vehicle. Officers arrived and as they attempted to contact a male subject who was exiting the vehicle, he fled the area on foot. An area search was conducted with the assistance of the Foothill Air Support Team helicopter, but the suspect was not located. The vehicle was found to be a reported stolen vehicle and mail from various locations was found inside, indicating the suspect was most likely involved in fraud activities. The investigation is continuing.

Grand Theft
October 17 at 10:18 a.m., an officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Heather Heights regarding the theft of a lawn mower. The victim told the officer the theft actually occurred on October 10. The victim had his lawn mower chained to the bed of his truck while he was doing yard work in the backyard of a residence. When he returned to the truck, he discovered his lock had been cut and the mower was missing. The investigation is continuing.

Theft of Mail
October 17 at 4:21 p.m., a theft of mail was reported at a residence in the 300 block of W. Walnut. A suspect was seen opening the resident's mail on the porch and removing the contents. The suspect was described as a male Hispanic, shaved head, wearing black glasses, a black t-shirt and blue jeans. The suspect fled on a bicycle prior to police arrival. A search was conducted, but the suspect was not located. The investigation is continuing.

Shoplifting – Suspect Arrested
October 17 at 5:58 p.m., a business in the 300 block of Huntington Drive called police to report a theft. A security guard at the location confronted a subject who was concealing merchandise in a shopping bag. The subject returned the merchandise to the shelf, but then became aggressive toward the security guard. The subject advanced on the security guard and a struggle ensued. Officers responded and the subject was arrested and taken into custody.

Grand Theft – Suspect Arrested
October 18 at 6:22 p.m., a business in the 600 block of W. Huntington called police to report a grand theft. An employee had used a loyalty rewards account to steal money from the business. The employee had confessed when he was confronted. The suspect came to the police station to give a statement and confessed his crime to the investigating officer. He was arrested for grand theft.

October 19 at 5:10 a.m., a resident in the 200 block of N. Sunset called police to report items were stolen from his home office, garage and vehicles. It appears the suspect entered an unsecured vehicle and obtained a garage door opener. The suspect opened the garage and then entered the interior of the house. The residents were home at the time, but were unaware of the crime. The burglary occurred sometime between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Some of the items taken were two laptop computers, an Ipad, and a docking station. The investigation is continuing.

Thanks to Korinne at Monrovia Chamber of Commerce

I just got this note from correspondent Rosemari Annear and agree with her that this is a great example of Monrovians going out of their way to help each other. She writes ...

"I am new to this but wanted to know if I could add something good to fellow Monrovians. Several weeks ago I was preparing for a trip which involved taking the gold line in the morning. I called Monrovia transit for a ride to the station, was told we have 3 vans, they're fully booked, uber didn't respond & no taxi either. I called the Chamber of Commerce, spoke with Korinne, explained this and jokingly said 'unless you can take me.' She asked where I lived and said yes she could! Its so nice to know there are people here who are able and go out of their way for others. So, again, thank you Korinne!"

- Brad Haugaard

Smitten on Paper Now Open Saturdays

For the holiday season Monrovia's Smitten on Paper, a custom stationery and paper goods company, will be open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Before it was only open Monday-Friday. To celebrate the new hours it will hold a one time Seconds Sale of products with slight flaws. There will be pre-packaged and create-your-own grab bags of paper scraps, envelopes, ribbon, packaging and other retired inventory from $1. "We've had requests to open on weekends since we opened and we're ready to take our business to the next level," says Smitten On Paper Creative Director, Amy Gonzales. The store is at 114 East Lemon Ave., between Myrtle and the Fire station.

Source: press release

- Brad Haugaard

Talk on National Parks at Monrovia Garden Club Meeting

Lincoln Fairchild, PhD, will discuss, "National Parks: Americas Best Idea," at the Monrovia Garden Club monthly meeting on Tuesday Oct. 24. The meetings are held at First Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Myrtle and Foothill, in the Fireside Room on the north side of the parking lot. The meetings start at 7 p.m. with a social hour at 6:30 p.m., where light refreshments will be served. Visitors are welcome.

- Brad Haugaard

TJ Maxx and HomeGoods Opening Sunday; Aldi Coming December; And in 2018: Ulta Beauty, My Pet Garden

Warner Pacific Properties, a real estate investment and development company, announced today the opening of a new T.J.Maxx/HomeGoods combo store at the newly repositioned Monrovia Landing at 735 and 737 E. Huntington Drive (Historic Route 66) and S. Shamrock Avenue, in the City of Monrovia, California. The new store will celebrate its grand opening on Sunday, October 22nd, at 8 a.m.

"We're humbled by the community's excitement for this weekend's opening of T.J.Maxx and HomeGoods, and also for the ALDI store opening planned for early December," said Michael Odell, principal and co-founder of Warner Pacific Properties. "These retailers are grateful to finally have stores in Monrovia, and be able to better serve its residents and nearby communities."

Warner Pacific Properties acquired the property in February 2016, and at the time of the acquisition, the 98,000-square-foot retail center consisted of a vacated Albertsons grocery store building and an O'Reilly Auto Parts store and was shadow anchored by Michaels (not included in the sale). Monrovia Landing is part of a larger retail development referred to as the Shamrock Center, which includes a 24-Hour Fitness, Yoshinoya and Taco Bell.

"It's been a collaborative effort, and we're grateful for our tenants and partners, as they quickly bought into our redevelopment vision for this property," said John Odell, principal and co-founder of Warner Pacific Properties. "Our lender, Calmwater Capital, was particularly helpful and, instead of seeing the old building that sat vacant for several years, they immediately recognized this building's potential and they facilitated our business plan. It has been incredibly rewarding to bring an old building back to life, and recycle structures instead of demolishing them."

John Odell added, "The City of Monrovia has been extremely cooperative and we can't thank them enough for their continued assistance."

The retail building was originally developed in 1973 as a Super Kmart and was then acquired by Lucky Grocery Stores in 1997, and then later by Albertsons. One notable historical point, according to Odell, is the mural on the former Albertsons' building that pays homage to the Monrovia Airport that once existed across the street from 1928-1953. Warner Pacific Properties preserved the mural, which has a prominent focal point in the new shopping center.

New tenants, ALDI, a national grocery retailer with nearly 1,700 U.S. stores in 35 states, is slated to open on Dec. 7, and ULTA Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the U.S., is expected to open in the second quarter of 2018. Additionally, Monrovia Landing will have several smaller shop spaces, including My Pet Garden, a local pet store currently operating in Pasadena.

Warner Pacific Properties has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with ALDI and has facilitated over 100 ALDI projects from coast-to-coast. Brothers John and Michael Odell co-founded Warner Pacific Properties more than 10 years ago, focusing on the acquisition of well-priced properties, special situation properties and properties in need of rehabilitation or repositioning in major metro areas around the country. In addition to the repositioning of the Monrovia Landing shopping center, the company's West Coast office has acquired apartment communities, unanchored retail shopping centers and is evaluating a variety of retail and mixed-use development opportunities.

Source: press release

- Brad Haugaard

Dog Park in Monrovia?

Peter Hanley writes on Facebook that City Manager Oliver Chi told the Chamber of Commerce that the city is considering creating a dog park. 

- Brad Haugaard 

Mt. Wilson Fire Not Currently a Threat to Monrovia; Pink Police Car; Lieutenants become Captains; Recliner Chairs at Theater

The city's pink police car.

In his weekly report City Manager Oliver Chi reports ...

~ The city had one of its police cars wrapped in pink to support  the Pink Patch Project, which raises awareness for breast cancer research.

~ The fire near Mt. Wilson is nowhere near Monrovia, and "there is no direct threat to our community now." Still, the city has closed Canyon Park and the Hillside Wilderness Preserve (except for people who have rented a facility or are on a guided tour) but hopes to reopen them tomorrow ... at least if the fire is out by then. "Based on the latest reports we have received, the fire should be put out by this afternoon."

~ With the upcoming retirement of Police Chief Jim Hunt and Captain Nels Ortland and the appointment of Captain Alan Sanvictores as the next police chief,  Lt. Heath Harvey and Lt. Roberto Wilken have been promoted to captain.  Heath  will command the Operations Division, while Roberto will oversee the Services Division.

~ Studio Movie Grill (the former Krikorian Theater) plans to install high-backed recliners within the next week or two. The job should be done within 6-8 weeks. Also, in early 2018 the company plans to convert one screening room to a full kitchen, so there will be 11 screens.

~ The installation ceremony for new Monrovia  Chief of Police,  Alan Sanvictores is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Nov. 7, just before the City Council meeting.

~ Police Agent Michael Garcia, and Fire Captain Brannigan Scott will be recognized  at Congressmember Grace Napolitano's Community Prayer Breakfast, on Nov. 17 at the Pacific Palms Resort in the City of Industry.

~ This year 28 merchants will participate in the Old Town trick-or-treating program, "Halloween Spooktacular." They will be identified on a map and will have a "Candy Stop" sign in the window.

~ Six new "Big Belly" solar compacting trash cans will be installed in late October in  the 100-200 block, 400, 500, 600 blocks and at Library Park. They'll be  wrapped in a collage of historical photos. They can hold five times as much trash, so they have to be emptied less frequently. Also, the cans send a note to city staff when they need to be emptied.

~ The City's first Portland Loo public restroom was installed at  Julian Fisher Park last week.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Canyon Park, Wilderness Area Clised

I would guess this was prompted by last night's fire near My. Wilson. 

- Brad Haugaard 

Fire Above Monrovia

There is apparently a fire above Monrovia. I took this picture at about 5:35 this morning from the Pavilions shopping center. You can see aircraft silhouetted occasionally against the flames. 

Update: KABC reporting it is around Mt Wilson. 

Update 2: 6:30 a.m. and it appears it is either out or close to being out. 

- Brad Haugaard 

Monrovia Police: Heroin and Fake $100 Bills; Drunk Driving; Shoplifting; Drugs; Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for October 12-15. - Brad Haugaard]

Following are the weekend’s highlighted issues and events.

Warrants – Suspects Arrested
October 12 at 7:26 p.m., officers completed a location check at a hotel in the 700 block of W. Huntington due to ongoing complaints. During the location check, they contacted four subjects in one of the rooms and a computer check revealed three of the subjects had outstanding warrants for their arrest. The subjects were arrested and held pending their court appearances.

Driving Under the Influence / Public Intoxication – Suspects Arrested
October 14 at 4:29 a.m., an officer stopped a vehicle in the 200 block of E. Huntington for a vehicle code violation. The driver displayed signs of intoxication and further investigation determined the driver was driving under the influence. The driver was arrested for DUI and two passengers were arrested for public intoxication.

Public Intoxication / Warrant – Suspects Arrested
October 14 at 5:09 a.m., officers were dispatched to a disturbance in the front yard of a residence in the 700 block of Montana. They contacted several subjects. One subject was taken into custody for public intoxication and held for a sobering period. A second subject was arrested for an outstanding warrant.

Warrant / Trespassing – Suspect Arrested
October 14 at 8:52 a.m., a former tenant that had been evicted several days earlier had returned to the residence in the 700 block of W. Duarte Road. He has been asked to stay away from the location. He has brought property back to the location and made statements that he is staying there. A computer check of the subject revealed he had a warrant for his arrest. He was arrested for the warrant and served with a no-trespassing order for the location.

Shoplifting – Suspect Arrested
October 14 at 3:06 p.m., loss prevention at a business in the 500 block of W. Huntington phoned police to report a subject that had stolen merchandise and when confronted, became combative. Officers responded, confirmed the theft and the suspect was arrested.

Possession of a Controlled Substance – Suspects Arrested
October 14 at 7:56 p.m., an officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 200 block of W. Huntington for a vehicle code violation. The vehicle was occupied by five subjects. One of the passengers had a warrant for his arrest and officers located drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine inside the vehicle. Two subjects were arrested and taken into custody.

Counterfeit Currency / Possession of a Controlled Substance / Warrant – Suspect Arrested
October 15 at 10:24 a.m., the owner of a business in the 600 block of S. Myrtle called police to report a subject that paid their bill with a counterfeit $100 bill and left the location. An employee followed the subject outside and called police. Officers arrived and detained the subject. The subject was arrested for possession of a counterfeit bill and was found to be in possession of heroin. He also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The subject was arrested and taken into custody for the charges.

Latino Heritage Fundraiser Dance

Monrovia Latino Heritage scholarship fundraiser dance, 2-7 p.m., Sunday, October. 15, VFW Post 8070, 250 E. first Street, Azusa. $20 in advance; $25 at the door. For information call Louie Romero at (951)  830-9648

- Brad Haugaard 

Calvary Road Baptist Church & Sunday School


Are you uncertain about the future? Jaded by life? Concerned for the next generation? Disillusioned by the state of our country and around the world? Are you searching for truth and the true meaning of life in this ever changing culture? Come find out the answers to these questions and more as we look closer into God's handbook for life through the Bible. See how spiritual realities are applied to practical daily living covering all aspects of life. Here at Calvary Road Baptist Church you will find appropriate Bible preaching that honors God, exalts the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, empower believers and gives hope to the lost and hopeless.  We are a traditional Christ centered, hymn singing, family values focused congregation of diverse backgrounds and age groups representing the surrounding communities we serve.

Sunday School

Come spend time with us as we prepare today's youth for tomorrow's challenges from 3-4pm

● Activities include Bible lessons, singing, crafts, and snacks.
● Newcomers are always welcome to take part with the many other boys and girls who attend for FREE.
● Your child will be placed in the appropriate age group from K-12 grade with its own regular teacher.
● If transportation is needed we can make arrangements for pick up.
● All teachers are members of the church and have received Sunday School training.
● Each week the children receive a lesson from the Bible. The Sunday School follows the Lessons for Life four-year, structured course of lessons.
● Children will receive a weekly Bible Learning Course leaflet which will indicate what they are being taught.
● Parents are welcome to sit in with their child in any class in our safe and secured facility.
● The church operates a Child Protection Policy in accordance with Government guidelines.

Military-ish Convoy Drives Through Monrovia

Photos of old military vehicles passing through town, from Gem City Images:

- Brad Haugaard

New Names in Monrovia

Now the former Krikorian Theater is the Studio Movie Grill. Dinner and a movie - at the same place. 

And here is the former Albertsons. Replaced by a HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, plus, it appears, a couple empty slots. These are not open yet. 

- Brad Haugaard 

Monrovia Council to Consider Marijuana Regulations

At its next meeting the Monrovia City Council (agenda: will, among other things ...

~ Consider adopting staff recommentdations for new marijuana growing regulations "that (1) prohibit the issuance of a business license for all commercial cannabis activity except for laboratory testing and manufacturing facilities, (2) prohibit all commercial cannabis uses except for laboratory testing and manufacturing facilities, (3) prohibit outdoor cannabis cultivation, and (4) regulate indoor cannabis cultivation in private residences." Some adjustment to the city's regulations are required due to changing state law. The staff recommendaton is more restrictive than the regulations initially proposed by the Planning Commission, which was prepared to allow outside cultivation of marijuana.

~ Consider a "Mills Act Contract" for the historic landmark house at 200 E. Lime (aka the Tillapaugh House), which will give the new owner a tax break:

- Brad Haugaard